How numerous lives does your data have?

By Sameer Sule

SANDY- if you live in the northeast you will not forget her name for a long time. Every CEO, business owner and home owner was holding his/her breath as Sandy blew over us. I know I was. My house is surrounded by trees and every time a 50 mph gust came, I was praying to the higher power that the branches held up. Unfortunately a tree on the adjoining street couldn’t hold up and came down, knocking the power out from our neighborhood for a day. We were the lucky ones! Others in the NY and NJ area weren’t so lucky. 

The damage to people, property and businesses in NY and NJ  is unimaginable.  According to early estimates over 100,000 homes and businesses were completely destroyed or severely damaged. Many business owners have lost everything and may never recover. All their life’s work gone in a blink of an eye.  My prayers go out to people who have been disastrously affected by Sandy. Could they have done more to protect their businesses? In some cases the answer is no; we are powerless in front of mother nature and despite our best preparations things can go real bad. But in many cases, I am sure business owners are cursing themselves for not being better prepared. Most businesses do not have disaster recovery plans in place. Simple things like backing up data in a secure place, having redundant power supply such as a portable generator are not in place.Taking these simple steps can mean the difference between business recovery or business death. 
Events like Hurricane Sandy remind us how close we get to losing everything. Its just a matter of luck that one business or home gets destroyed and another doesn’t. Yet many of us thank our stars and move on without really considering what we can do to protect our family, home and business in the event of a disaster. We live in an information age and our life is practically a collection of bytes. Apart from a few hard copies most of our information is now stored in electronic format. Now is the time for those of us lucky enough to escape unscathed from Sandy to take a look at what is important in our lives and take steps to safeguard it. Do we have all our important documents in a safe place? How about all our electronic data- our files, family pictures, legal information, financial information? Have they been backed up online and can we recover them easily afterwards?
Knowing that we can recover our critical data after a disaster will make the recovery process relatively easier. So unless your data is a cat with nine lives, Sandy just used up one. How many more lives does your data have?

Sameer Sule is a Business Technology Consultant at Kinara Insights, a company providing contingency/disaster recovery planning services to doctors, dentists and healthcare practices. He helps his clients understand and use technology to reduce practice downtime, increase efficiency and improve quality of patient care.

Check out Sameer’s Google+ profile

 

How numerous lives does your data have?

By Sameer Sule

SANDY- if you live in the northeast you will not forget her name for a long time. Every CEO, business owner and home owner was holding his/her breath as Sandy blew over us. I know I was. My house is surrounded by trees and every time a 50 mph gust came, I was praying to the higher power that the branches held up. Unfortunately a tree on the adjoining street couldn’t hold up and came down, knocking the power out from our neighborhood for a day. We were the lucky ones! Others in the NY and NJ area weren’t so lucky. 

The damage to people, property and businesses in NY and NJ  is unimaginable.  According to early estimates over 100,000 homes and businesses were completely destroyed or severely damaged. Many business owners have lost everything and may never recover. All their life’s work gone in a blink of an eye.  My prayers go out to people who have been disastrously affected by Sandy. Could they have done more to protect their businesses? In some cases the answer is no; we are powerless in front of mother nature and despite our best preparations things can go real bad. But in many cases, I am sure business owners are cursing themselves for not being better prepared. Most businesses do not have disaster recovery plans in place. Simple things like backing up data in a secure place, having redundant power supply such as a portable generator are not in place.Taking these simple steps can mean the difference between business recovery or business death. 
Events like Hurricane Sandy remind us how close we get to losing everything. Its just a matter of luck that one business or home gets destroyed and another doesn’t. Yet many of us thank our stars and move on without really considering what we can do to protect our family, home and business in the event of a disaster. We live in an information age and our life is practically a collection of bytes. Apart from a few hard copies most of our information is now stored in electronic format. Now is the time for those of us lucky enough to escape unscathed from Sandy to take a look at what is important in our lives and take steps to safeguard it. Do we have all our important documents in a safe place? How about all our electronic data- our files, family pictures, legal information, financial information? Have they been backed up online and can we recover them easily afterwards?
Knowing that we can recover our critical data after a disaster will make the recovery process relatively easier. So unless your data is a cat with nine lives, Sandy just used up one. How many more lives does your data have?

Sameer Sule is a Business Technology Consultant at Kinara Insights, a company providing contingency/disaster recovery planning services to doctors, dentists and healthcare practices. He helps his clients understand and use technology to reduce practice downtime, increase efficiency and improve quality of patient care.

Check out Sameer’s Google+ profile

 

Hurricane Sandy Statistics

By 

Hurricane Sandy obliterated many records along the East Coast, from its extraordinarily low air pressure to the storm surge. In some ways it was even worse than a worst-case scenario.

Here is a roundup of some of the staggering statistics.

Hurricane Sandy StatisticsAir Pressure Records:

– Sandy had a minimum central pressure of 946 mb when it made landfall, which was the second-lowest pressure of any storm to come ashore north of Cape Hatteras, N.C. Only the Hurricane of 1938 had a lower air pressure reading at landfall that far north, which was 941 mb. In general, the lower the air pressure, the stronger the storm.

– Atlantic City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Trenton, N.J., all set records for the lowest air pressure reading ever recorded. At Atlantic City, which was close to the storm’s landfall location, the pressure fell to 945.6 mb, smashing the record of 961 mb, set in 1932. In Philadelphia, the pressure dropped to 953 mb, which broke the old record of 963 mb set during the “Superstorm of 1993.”

What’s noteworthy about these air pressure records is that they show that the storm was even more intense than aworst-case scenario studied by MIT’s Kerry Emanuel and Princeton’s Michael Oppenheimer. They published a study in June that warned of New York City’s vulnerability to storm surge flooding, but the storm they modeled had a minimum central pressure of about 960 mb at landfall. In other words, their worst-case scenario storm wasn’t as intense as Hurricane Sandy turned out to be.

Storm Surge

As expected, the extremely powerful storm surge proved to be Hurricane Sandy’s fiercest weapon, as water overwhelmed defenses throughout coastal New Jersey, New York City, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Here are some of Sandy’s most significant storm surges – measured as feet above the average low tide:

14.38 feet – Kings Point, N.Y.

13.88 feet –  The Battery, Lower Manhattan, which included a storm surge component of 9.23 feet. (Put another way, the water level at The Battery rose to 9.15 feet above the average high-tide line.)

13.31 feet – Sandy Hook, N.J. (Put another way, the water level at Sandy Hook rose to 8.1 feet above the average high-tide line.)

The storm surge at The Battery broke the old record, which was recorded during Hurricane Donna in 1960. It also broke the record of 11.2 ft. from a powerful hurricane that struck the region in 1821. Note that the Sandy Hook gauge stopped recording at 13.31 feet, so the actual highest water level was very likely higher than that.

Winds:

High winds affected the entire eastern third of the country, creating whitecaps on the surface of Lake Michigan at the same time that the Atlantic Ocean was still inundating coastal communities in the Mid-Atlantic states. Here are some of the strongest gusts:

90 mph – Islip, N.Y.
90 mph – Tompkinsville, N.J.
86 mph – Westerly, R.I.
83 mph – Cuttyhunk, Mass.
81 mph – Allentown, Pa.
80 mph – Newark, N.J.
79 mph – JFK Airport, N.Y.

Rain and Snow:

Unlike Hurricane Irene in 2011, Sandy did not produce devastating inland flooding, in part because it dropped less rain, and also because the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic had been quite dry leading up to the event. Still, there were some formidable rainfall totals, such as 12.55 inches in Easton, Md., and 11.91 inches in Wildwood, NJ.

One of the most unusual aspects of this enormous storm was the crippling amount of heavy, wet snow it produced in the higher elevations of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia. Snow also fell in parts of Ohio. During a media conference call as Sandy was nearing landfall, Louis Uccellini, a leading expert on snowstorms and the director of the National Center for Environmental Prediction in College Park, Md., said he knows of no previous hurricane that also dropped such heavy snow.

Here are some of the highest snow totals:

34.0 in. – Gatlinburg, Tenn.
33.0 in. – Clayton, W. Va.
29.0 in. – Redhouse, Md.
24.0 in. – Norton, Va.

Taking Care of Your Individuals in Disaster Response

It’s about time. Someone has admitted that DR/BCP writers have ignored the personal issues of employees following a disaster when creating business continuity plans, reviewing them, or just writing about them. Eric Krell wrote in Business Finance on November 6, 2012, an article entitled “Sandy Exposes the Human Side of Continuity.” I was alerted to the article by Phil Rothstein. Perhaps for Mr. Krell, Sandy was HIS first exposure to the human side of continuity. I’ve been teaching a unit called “Take Care of Your People” with my colleague Deidrich Towne, Jr. at DRJ conferences since 1999. We have presented lessons learned from our real experience of “people” issues associated with disaster response.

People, including employees, have routines that must be followed daily. Examples are taking care of children, pets, elderly parents, and farm animals. If you were to review Maslow’s hierarchy, you wouldn’t find work or career in the list of critical, life-sustaining functions. Let me give you an example. When putting together a strike plan, management employees were assigned duties requiring they work 6 days, 12-hour shifts. I got a call from a woman who said she couldn’t work that many hours in a week. I told her it was a “condition of employment” for management personnel. She responded, “Dr. Phelan, three months ago my husband and I adopted a child on the condition I would not work outside the home more than 35 hours per week. If I accept the strike assignment, I will lose my child.” I called her boss and set up a job-sharing arrangement to cover the duty.

There are human considerations that “trump” reporting to work. These are escalated when disaster strikes.

So, what’s a business continiuty planner to do? Some of you remember the exercise I used to illustrate what might happen when one is required to work under alternate or disaster recovery circumstances. Remember my asking you to sign your name while talking on the phone? Then I asked you to put the phone in the other hand and sign your name again. I observed three things.

1. You laughed, knowing that signing your name with the other hand would be difficult. This is an expression of fear or anxiety. This almost always happens when people are asked to work under alternate conditions. You can counter some of this with more exercises.

2. Your second signature was of lower quaility than your first. People working in disaster response mode will often not produce the same quality of work as they would under normal conditions. Plan for time to correct errors.

3. You took more time to sign your name with the other hand. Workers in alternate or disaster response mode will need more time to complete the same work they complete under normal circumstance. You can counter this with longer shifts and planning for backlog once the disaster response is over.

When workers have pressing needs at home, they will meet those needs before reporting to work. You need to plan for a certain percentage of your workforce to be unavailable in disaster response.

Most of all, you need to be compassionate toward those workers who have to make the difficult choice to “not report” because personal issues are more important. Find time to discuss this both in advance of a disaster and certainly during the debreif following a disaster.

I congratulate Eric Krell for admitting he had not considered this prior to Hurricane Sandy. He will going forward.

 

Studying the Hard Way

Despair. Anger. Frustration. Hopelessness. Sadness. Disappointment.

This is just a brief list of the emotions that folks impacted by Hurricane Sandy are feeling. It is impossible to understand what the citizens of the hard-hit areas are feeling. Many have lost everything – homes, belongings, businesses, and likely along with this – optimism.

While Hurricane Sandy occurred a little over a week ago, the east coast was blasted again today with a nor’easter. Normally a nor’easter does not garner much attention, but when people are still without power, heat, housing, gas, and jobs – the impact of such a storm only escalates.

The questions that many people are asking now are: did it have to be this bad? Were there any warning signs? Could the city of New York and state of New Jersey been better prepared? What do we do now – how do we rebuild?

Of course there are no easy answers to these questions and already there has been much finger pointing. Yes, there were missteps, miscommunications, and action plans that were not executed. Consider this summary of the 2009 meeting of American Society of Civil Engineers (held in New York City):

  • These engineers emphasized that a devastating storm would be likely to hit the city. Using computer simulations of an expected storm, these engineers showed city officials what could happen if safety and disaster recovery measures were not taken.
  • The engineers provided city officials with detailed plans showing how New York City could be protected from an impending hurricane or similar storm.
  • Recommendations were made to install surge barriers or tide gates in New York Harbor.
  • Admittedly these barriers would not have been installed in time to protect the city from the most recent natural disaster.
  • City officials blanched at the estimated cost of such protective measures.
  • Such technology has been installed in London, England and in the Netherlands.
Today, there are still no decisions or action plans on what to do to protect the city and outlying areas…
Unfortunately, at the end of the day, it’s the citizens who end up suffering the most when city executives cannot agree and/or fail to recognize the value in being prepared for a natural disaster.
The New York Times is full of stories about people who have lost everything. The couple who had spent thousands on renovating a building in Red Hook in preparation for moving their business – now everything is gone. Of restaurant owners who had to throw away thousands of dollars in food and now have to work to rebuild their restaurants. Or the patients admitted to NYU hospital who were evacuated when the hospital’s generator was flooded and all power was lost.
The list goes on of people who have been pushed to the brink. Could such stories have been prevented? Yes. 
So who is to blame? Essentially no one person is to blame. Rather this is a systemic attitude towards threats, natural disaster, and disaster recovery. Everyone likes to think it won’t happen to them. And when it does, it is often too late to right the wrong decisions. Time will tell if city and government officials have learned their lessons the hard way – or if they’re willing to take risks on behalf of their citizens again.
(It should be noted that through-out these rather terrible times, there have been some amazing stories of good deeds and community spirit. Many many thanks to those who have stepped forward from through-out the country to help those most deeply affected by Hurricane Sandy. It is during the hardest times that we often see the good come out in people. )
To read more about how New York and other cities can be prepared for the next natural disaster, read this Fast Company article.

Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts

Author: Craig Fugate

One week ago today, millions of Americans from North Carolina to Maine braced for Hurricane Sandy.  That evening for over 12 hours, hurricane and tropical storm force winds, storm surge, and flooding impacted 12 states, with over eight million people losing power. Transportation systems in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, DC came to a halt, and more than 12,000 commercial flights were grounded.  And for the first time since 1888, the New York Stock Exchange was closed for two consecutive days because of a natural disaster.

Days before the storm stuck, at the direction of President Obama, the entire federal government was mobilizing to support the anticipated state and local response to the storm.  The President declared an emergency in over a dozen states, and resources and commodities like food, water and blankets were pre-positioned.  FEMA staff was deployed to work side-by-side with their state and local counterparts to ensure coordination in response to the impacts of the storm, and urban search and rescue teams were deployed to prepare to support state and local efforts.  First responders up and down the east coast knocked on doors to urge those in danger to get out of harm’s way.

Before the tropical storm force winds stopped blowing on Tuesday, President Obama had declared a major disaster declaration for the states of New York and New Jersey, immediately making federal financial assistance available to individuals in the impacted regions.  As of this afternoon, over 230,000 individuals in the impacted areas have registered for financial assistance, and over $210 million has been provided to survivors.

We know that the human and economic toll of Hurricane Sandy will be severe and long-lasting.  More than 100 people lost their lives and were victims of this storm – they will not be forgotten.  In addition, there were billions in losses to small businesses and personal property.  But out of this tragedy, there are stories of survivors pulling together, neighbors helping neighbors, and communities beginning to rebuild.

We know that there are many challenges ahead and that recovery will not happen overnight.  Many survivors remain without power, and many are finding themselves without shelter.  FEMA will remain in support of our state, tribal and local partners, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Even as television cameras turn to other stories, we will be on the ground to support the survivors.

If you are a survivor, it’s important to take that the first step is to register with FEMA, by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or going online to www.disasterassistance.gov on your computer or mobile device.

As we have seen in the past few days, a disaster can happen to any of us, but by working together as one team, we can recover and we can rebuild.

Sandy Update 6: Registering for Assistance, Over $100 million Already Approved for Disaster Survivors

Author: Lars Anderson

As many people across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic continue to recover from Hurricane Sandy, members of the entire emergency management team, including the federal, state, tribal, and local governments, the faith based and non-profit communities, and the public, are working tirelessly to support those across the impacted area.  As of this morning, more than 122,000 people have registered for disaster assistance and more than $107 million in assistance has already been approved.  Here’s a breakdown of disaster assistance by state:

  • New York: over  69,000 registered; more than $75 million in assistance approved
  • New Jersey:  over  49,000 registered; more than $31 million in assistance approved
  • Connecticut:  over 2,400 registered; more than $368,000 in assistance approved

These numbers continue to increase as residential power is being restored and those affected are able to register for assistance with FEMA online, as well as through the 800 number.  If you’ve live in an eligible county and have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, we encourage you to apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) TTY 1-800-462-7585 or if you have access to the internet, applying online atwww.disasterassistance.gov.

Additionally, as many people have been without power for several days, fuel continues to be a top priority for FEMA. Under direction of President Obama, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) purchased up to 12 million gallons of unleaded fuel and up to 10 million gallons of diesel fuel for distribution in areas impacted by the storm to supplement ongoing private sector efforts.  Tanker trucks have distributed fuel throughout New York, New Jersey and other communities impacted by the storm. There are currently 10 fuel sites throughout New York and New Jersey where residents can refuel their cars and get gas for generators and other necessities.  We are committed to continuing our support in Hurricane Sandy response and recovery efforts.

Here are some photos highlighting our ongoing response and recovery efforts as we work to assist those residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Pleasantville, N.J., Oct. 31, 2012 -- At the Red Cross shelter at Pleasantville High School, FEMA Community Relations team member Sandy Hendrix talks with evacuee Lee Davidson about his immediate needs.

Pleasantville, N.J., Oct. 31, 2012 — At the Red Cross shelter at Pleasantville High School, FEMA Community Relations team member Sandy Hendrix talks with evacuee Lee Davidson about his immediate needs.

Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 31, 2012 -- Through distribution centers in Atlanta, Ga. and Frederick, Md., FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets. As of last evening, more than 305,000 liters of water and more than 185,000 meals in staging at Incident Support Bases in Westover, MA and Lakehurst, NJ, have been transferred to states to supplement their existing inventory. The Incident Support Bases continue to be restocked in anticipation of additional requests for assistance from affected states.

Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 31, 2012 — Through distribution centers in Atlanta, Ga. and Frederick, Md., FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets. As of last evening, more than 305,000 liters of water and more than 185,000 meals in staging at Incident Support Bases in Westover, MA and Lakehurst, NJ, have been transferred to states to supplement their existing inventory. The Incident Support Bases continue to be restocked in anticipation of additional requests for assistance from affected states.

Riverside, Calif., Nov. 1, 2012 -- A fleet of more than 70 Southern California Edison utility trucks is being prepared for transport to the East Coast to help restore power in areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The U.S. Air Force will use six C-5 and eight C-17 aircraft to transport the vehicles from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County.

Riverside, Calif., Nov. 1, 2012 — A fleet of more than 70 Southern California Edison utility trucks is being prepared for transport to the East Coast to help restore power in areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The U.S. Air Force will use six C-5 and eight C-17 aircraft to transport the vehicles from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County.

Hoboken, N.J., Nov. 1, 2012 -- FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino is shown damaged businesses in Hoboken, New Jersey by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Hurricane Sandy damaged hundreds of businesses and left most of the town under water.

Hoboken, N.J., Nov. 1, 2012 — FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino is shown damaged businesses in Hoboken, New Jersey by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Hurricane Sandy damaged hundreds of businesses and left most of the town under water.

Hoboken, N.J., Nov. 1, 2012 -- FEMA Community Relations team member Nancy Evans talks with a cleanup volunteer from Hoboken Grace Church. FEMA is working with many partners and organizations to provide assistance to residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Hoboken, N.J., Nov. 1, 2012 — FEMA Community Relations team member Nancy Evans talks with a cleanup volunteer from Hoboken Grace Church. FEMA is working with many partners and organizations to provide assistance to residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Hoboken, N.J., Nov. 1, 2012 -- FEMA Community Relations team member Joanne Doaring talks with residents Teresa Brenda and Chris Skarantonakis about meeting their immediate needs for food and safe shelter. FEMA is working with many partners and organizations to provide assistance to residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Hoboken, N.J., Nov. 1, 2012 — FEMA Community Relations team member Joanne Doaring talks with residents Teresa Brenda and Chris Skarantonakis about meeting their immediate needs for food and safe shelter. FEMA is working with many partners and organizations to provide assistance to residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Hoboken, N.J., Nov. 1, 2012 -- FEMA Community Relations team member Ray Vees talks with residents John and Debra Veloce about registering with FEMA after Hurricane Sandy flooded their apartment. FEMA is working with many partners and organizations to provide assistance to residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Hoboken, N.J., Nov. 1, 2012 — FEMA Community Relations team member Ray Vees talks with residents John and Debra Veloce about registering with FEMA after Hurricane Sandy flooded their apartment. FEMA is working with many partners and organizations to provide assistance to residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Queens, N.Y., Nov. 1, 2012 -- FEMA Community Relations (CR) team members moved through Breezy Point and Rockaway, NY, after Hurricane Sandy. The CR members talked with disaster survivors about FEMA assistance and assessed the situation on the ground.

Queens, N.Y., Nov. 1, 2012 — FEMA Community Relations (CR) team members moved through Breezy Point and Rockaway, NY, after Hurricane Sandy. The CR members talked with disaster survivors about FEMA assistance and assessed the situation on the ground.

Staten Island, N.Y., Nov. 2, 2012 -- FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino, left, and DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary William Bryan, participate on a conference call with NRCC operations from FEMA headquarters to discuss operations for Hurricane Sandy.

Staten Island, N.Y., Nov. 2, 2012 — FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino, left, and DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary William Bryan, participate on a conference call with NRCC operations from FEMA headquarters to discuss operations for Hurricane Sandy.

Charleston, W.Va., Nov. 2, 2012 -- Members of the West Virginia Air National Guard unload food supplies shipped into the state by FEMA effort to support residents impacted by the storm that brought deep snow, heavy rain and high winds to the area. The supplies are moved from the staging area at Charleston's Yeager Airport to distribution points around the state.

Charleston, W.Va., Nov. 2, 2012 — Members of the West Virginia Air National Guard unload food supplies shipped into the state by FEMA effort to support residents impacted by the storm that brought deep snow, heavy rain and high winds to the area. The supplies are moved from the staging area at Charleston’s Yeager Airport to distribution points around the state.

Staten Island, N.Y., Nov. 2, 2012 -- FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino, left, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, speak to local residents at a shelter set up at Susan Wagner high school. The shelter is set up to assist residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

Staten Island, N.Y., Nov. 2, 2012 — FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino, left, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, speak to local residents at a shelter set up at Susan Wagner high school. The shelter is set up to assist residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

Cape May, N.J., Nov. 2, 2012 -- Jane Menear talks with FEMA employee Lois Bridges at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center. People affected by Hurricane Sandy can come in and talk to various federal, state and local representatives about questions they have during the recovery process.

Cape May, N.J., Nov. 2, 2012 — Jane Menear talks with FEMA employee Lois Bridges at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center. People affected by Hurricane Sandy can come in and talk to various federal, state and local representatives about questions they have during the recovery process.

Charleston, W.Va., Nov. 2, 2012 -- Pallets of meals brought by to West Virginia by FEMA for state residents impacted by snow, rain and high winds are prepared for distribution at the Air National Guard Base here. State and local officials are selecting sites to distribute the commodities to residents

Charleston, W.Va., Nov. 2, 2012 — Pallets of meals brought by to West Virginia by FEMA for state residents impacted by snow, rain and high winds are prepared for distribution at the Air National Guard Base here. State and local officials are selecting sites to distribute the commodities to residents.

Staten Island, N.Y., Nov. 3, 2012 -- Tanker trucks distribute fuel to residents in New York who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) purchased up to 12 million gallons of unleaded fuel and up to 10 million gallons of diesel fuel for distribution in areas impacted by the storm to supplement ongoing private sector efforts.

Staten Island, N.Y., Nov. 3, 2012 — Tanker trucks distribute fuel to residents in New York who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) purchased up to 12 million gallons of unleaded fuel and up to 10 million gallons of diesel fuel for distribution in areas impacted by the storm to supplement ongoing private sector efforts.

Freehold, N.J., Nov. 3, 2012 -- Tanker trucks distribute fuel throughout New York, New Jersey and other communities impacted by the storm. FEMA is working with many partners and organizations to assist residents affected by the storm.

Freehold, N.J., Nov. 3, 2012 — Tanker trucks distribute fuel throughout New York, New Jersey and other communities impacted by the storm. FEMA is working with many partners and organizations to assist residents affected by the storm.

For more photos on our response and recovery efforts, visit our Photo Library and for more information on Hurricane Sandy, visit the Hurricane Sandy page.

Sandy Update 5: The Next Step After You Register for Disaster Assistance

Author:

Hoboken, N.J., Nov. 1, 2012 -- FEMA Inspector Richard Martin inspects a basement apartment in Hoboken two days after the residents applied for FEMA assistance. FEMA is working with many partners and organizations to provide assistance to residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Hoboken, N.J., Nov. 1, 2012 — FEMA Inspector Richard Martin inspects a basement apartment in Hoboken two days after the residents applied for FEMA assistance. FEMA is working with many partners and organizations to provide assistance to residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

We understand the mixed range of emotions survivors may be experiencing after going through a catastrophic and life changing disaster.  Many people are returning home to find that everything they’ve ever known is completely destroyed.  During these difficult times, it’s hard to even process everything that has occurred over the past several days, let alone think about the next steps — but we’re here to help you through the disaster registration process and make it as easy as possible.

If you’re a survivor in one of the declared counties you should call to apply for federal assistance.  If you have access to the Internet, you can apply online and on your mobile device too.  If you don’t have access to the Internet, please call 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) TTY 1-800-462-7585.  Our online application is an easier and faster way to apply for assistance, visit at www.disasterassistance.gov to complete your application. You should also be aware that FEMA often opens Disaster Recovery Centers  in disaster areas, once they are established in your area, you can visit the location to speak to someone in person about available disaster programs.

Once you’ve applied for federal assistance, here’s what you can expect next:

  1. Applicants who register with FEMA will be given a personal application number. This number will be used to provide later to a FEMA Housing Inspector. So it’s important that you write this number down, and keep it secure and handy for future use.
  2.  A FEMA Housing Inspector will contact you to make an appointment to visit your property within 14 days after you apply. The inspector will assess disaster related damage for your real and personal property.

    Important notes:

  • There is no fee for the inspection.
  • Inspectors are contractors, not FEMA employees, but your inspector will have picture identification.
  • It is important to understand that you or someone 18 years of age who lived in the household prior to the disaster must be present for your scheduled appointment. This inspection generally takes 30-40 minutes but can be shorter, and consists of a general inspection of damaged areas of your home and a review of your records.It’s also important to understand what the inspector will be asking of you.

    The inspector will ask to see:

  • Picture Identification
  • Proof of Ownership/Occupancy of damaged residence (Structural Insurance, Tax Bill, Mortgage Payment Book/Utility Bill)
  • Insurance documents: Home and/or Auto (Structural Insurance/Auto Declaration Sheet)
  • List of household occupants living in residence at time of disaster
  • All disaster related damages to both real and personal property
  1. Once the inspection process is complete, your case will be reviewed by FEMA and you will receive a letter, or email if you signed up for E-Correspondence, outlining the decision.
  2. If you qualify for a FEMA grant, FEMA will send you a check by mail or deposit it directly into your bank account. You will also receive a letter describing how you are to use the money.  You should only use the money given to you as explained in the letter and save receipts on how you spent the money.
  3. If you do not qualify for a FEMA grant, you will receive a letter explaining why you were turned down and will be given a chance to appeal the decision. Your appeal rights will be described in this letter. Appeals must be in writing and mailed within 60 days of FEMA’s decision.
  4. If you’re referred to the Small Business Administration (SBA), you will receive a SBA application. The application must be completed and returned in order to be considered for a loan as well as certain types of grant assistance. SBA representatives are available to help you with the application at localDisaster Recovery Centers. Completing and returning the loan application does not mean that you must accept the loan.

As with all disasters, FEMA is just part of the team that supports disaster response and recovery efforts.  That team is comprised of tribal, territorial, state, and local governments, faith-based and community organizations as well as the private sector and voluntary organizations.  Together we are working to help survivors through this difficult time in their lives.

If you know someone who lives in an eligible county and has suffered damages from Hurricane Sandy or if you have suffered damages yourself, we encourage you to register for federal disaster assistance as soon as possible.  The sooner you apply, the faster you will receive a reply and can move forward in the recovery process.

And if you were not affected by Hurricane Sandy but know survivors, please help us spread the message and encourage them to apply for assistance.

Here are some other ways everyone can help Hurricane Sandy survivors:

  • Cash is the most efficient method of donating – Cash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover.

Also, please review our page with info on volunteering and donating responsibly.

We are committed in continuing to provide support to the governors, tribal leaders and communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  As response efforts continue, FEMA and our federal partners have been in close contact with emergency officials to assess the unmet needs of survivors. Visit our Hurricane Sandy page for updates and other resources related to response and recovery efforts.

Hurricane Sandy Update

Well, in theory the worst of Hurricane Sandy is now over. But for hundreds of thousands of people, the destruction left behind is a large barrier to getting over the storm’s destruction. With some people trying to get back to normal – battling traffic to get into Manhattan there are many many other people who are facing lost homes, missing belongings, the loss of businesses and many unanswered questions.

The East Coast is in the early days of realizing how much Sandy has really impacted folks. While some will be wringing their hands suggesting that people, government, and business should have been better prepared – there really are no clear cut answers. In coming days we will learn of communities, businesses, people and institutions that were prepared for such a disaster and we’ll hear and read stories of those that weren’t. Now is not a time for placing blame and pointing fingers – but rather a time to come together and support those that we can.

As we did earlier in the week, we’ve pulled together some links about Hurricane Sandy:

  • Status of services and transportation in New York City
  • Google’s crisis map
  • Gas shortages and traffic jams
  • A report on communities that were and weren’t prepared
  • Medical research losses mounting
  • Disaster relief funding
  • The New York City marathon will go on
  • Prepared but not prepared enough
The thoughts of everyone here at DRJ are with those who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy. 

In the News: From Survivor to Survivor – Managing the anxiety after a Disaster

Posted by: Lars, Anderson, Director, Public Affairs

(The views expressed in the CNN story do not necessarily represent the official views of the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA does not endorse any non-government organizations, entities, or services.)

With the great amount of devastation Sandy has brought upon states along the East Coast, I wanted to take a moment to share an article on CNN.com from Hurricane Katrina and Joplin survivors who felt the way many disaster survivors may feel at this point in time. Three days after Sandy’s landfall, millions of people remain without power and their homes and lives as they knew it, have completely changed.

Here’s an excerpt from storm survivors sharing their experiences and giving advice on how to move forward after experiencing a disaster:

Devastation is devastation, whether a hurricane rips up your home or a tornado takes the person you love most in the world. It’s loss, shock and confusion. It’s anger and sadness and resentment. It’s being flustered like you’ve never been flustered before.
But it’s going to be OK: Take it from the people who survived Hurricane Katrina and the Missourians from Joplin whose town was leveled by the worst tornado in U.S. history.

            They want Sandy survivors to know a few things:

You’re probably on autopilot right now. You’re moving through it. Stand in the ruins of the life you had before the disaster. Understand that was before. The after is when you’re good and ready.
Hours will still go by though. Days will happen. You might not remember to eat because you’re filling out paperwork and talking to insurance operators. You will get put on hold.

            Your life will feel forever on hold.

At some point, when you think you’re handling it, you will stumble on something that reminds you of that old life, maybe it’s a thing or it’s a memory. Maybe this will happen when you finally get the sleep you’ve gone without since the disaster. You’re going to feel really, really awful again for awhile.
Eileen Romero, Hurricane Katrina Survivor, “Understand that the life you had before something like this isn’t coming back, and that’s not always a bad thing. Discover and make yourself anew.”

Read the rest of the story from CNN.

As we continue to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we remain committed to bringing the resources of the federal family together to support disaster survivors. We are and will continue to work side by side in close coordination with state, local and tribal emergency management officials, voluntary and faith-based communities, and private sector to support response and recovery efforts in affected states.